Episode 32 - Language and Reading Comprehension with Mindy Bridges, PhD, CCC-SLP

Episode Summary

Reading comprehension, by nature, is multifaceted and complex, and for Mindy Bridges, PhD, understanding its development and factors in children is a key passion in her professional work and research. This episode dives deep into the role of language in reading comprehension. Dr. Bridges explains how various factors contribute to comprehension, reflects on her research on comprehension across age development, and offers insights on supporting children who struggle. Dr. Bridges discusses the role of collaboration and implementation science to better understand language and comprehension development in order to serve more schools and students.

Top READ Bookmarks
Each episode, host Danielle Scorrano identifies key takeaways or “READ bookmarks.” 

1. Developing reading comprehension is complex and multi-faceted.

Language development is interwoven into the components that support reading comprehension.

"Comprehension has so many facets and pieces involved in it, and [in my research,] we’re trying to see what the structure of reading comprehension is across time."

2. Identifying of comprehension difficulties in preschool and early elementary include screening for 

• Vocabulary
• Ability to retell a story (called “narrative language
• Sentence structure in spoken language

For any child, narrative language is a key skill in oral language and comprehension development.

Did you know? “An explicit and intensive focus on oral narrative language has a direct and meaningful impact on the quality of written narratives children produce, even for children with significant disabilities”

- Spencer & Peterson, 2020. Read their study here: Narrative Intervention: Principle to Practice

3. Instruction and intervention under Response to Intervention (RTI)

"While RTI and MTSS (Multi-tiered Systems of Support) are not interchangeable, they do have things in common."

RTI encompasses 
• High quality tier one, classroom instruction
• Screening measures 3-4x a year
• More intensive or supplemental instruction, as well as increased dosage or time receiving instruction

"RTI includes screenings that are not meant to be diagnostic. They’re meant to pick up kids at risk."

4. The importance of educator knowledge of language’s role in learning

"Anyone who wants to educate children need to know about general language development, milestones… and that all kids will not progress in the same way."

Read about the Dr. Bridges’ study she coauthored (Piasta et al., 2022) about the importance of educator and practitioner content knowledge about oral language: Teachers’ content knowledge about oral language: Measure development and evidence of initial validity.

5. Current topics to watch in education

• Implementation Science
Implementation Science offers the opportunity understand how to apply research in practice across school settings.

"I think the collaborations I’ve had with schools, families, teachers, and SLPs have made me cognizant of doing research that has the ability to scale up."

• Speech language pathologists as school literacy leaders
Speech language pathologists can offer act as literacy leaders, collaborators, and instructional coaches to support the implementation of evidence-based reading instruction and interventions in school.



Learn more about Dr. Bridges’ research on the University of Kansas Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders podcast

Dr. Bridges discusses RTI and MTSS on the SeeHearSpeak Podcast with Dr. Tiffany Hogan

Dr. Bridges at the Research, Language and Learning Lab

Connect with Dr. Bridges on Twitter

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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Scorrano.

About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.
Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests.